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Radio control or RC planes come in a plethora of designs, from futuristic imaginings to accurate scale models of famous planes. You can build your own or buy an almost ready to fly (ARTF) or ready to fly (RTF) model from trusted manufacturers such as Katana, Kyosho, J-Power, Hangar 9, or Art-Tech. Before buying a new or used RC plane, consider the user's skill level and learn about the products available.
RC Planes and Pilot Skill Levels
RC plane models include trainers, sport, and aerobatic designs. Choosing a plane that matches the pilot's skill level is crucial to minimise frustration and damage to the plane. Although some damage is inevitable during crash landings, an inexperienced pilot can easily wreck an expensive plane. Some planes, such as advanced aerobatic and high-powered 3D models, take a great deal of skill to manoeuvre. Most casual hobbyists use advanced trainers or sport planes. Although high-end models can cost thousands of rands, you can save by buying a second-hand RC plane.
RC Plane Features and Accessories
RC planes come with a variety of features and accessories. One of the most important factors to consider is the plane's power source. Newer models tend to use electric power in the form of battery packs, and glow or nitro engines power others. If you decide on a fuel-powered engine, remember to consider running costs.
The radio controller you choose should offer the channels and programming features required to fly your plane or planes. You may need to upgrade your controller as your skills improve. Transmitters have a number of channels. Each channel controls a function on the plane. For example, a two-channel transmitter may use one channel to control the propeller and one to control the rudder. A four-channel transmitter typically allows the pilot to control the throttle, rudder, elevator, and ailerons. The more channels the controller has, the more versatile it is. Although basic or beginner planes usually come with two-channel transmitters, consider investing in an advanced controller to allow for improvements in skill and the expansion of your squadron.
Building and flying RC planes is a rewarding hobby. Buy a used RC plane and equipment to reduce the cost of getting started or expanding your collection. Invest in planes suitable for your skill level. Research features and accessories, especially the power source and transmitter and controller, to find the perfect plane for you.